See how car screens have grown throughout history (2023)


See how car screens have grown throughout history (1)

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How did we get from the pre-iPhone world to the new "hyperscreen" Mercedes?

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See how car screens have grown throughout history (5)

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  • Ahh, the old DIN car radios

    See how car screens have grown throughout history (7)

    For a couple of promising decades in the 80's, 90's and early 2000's, most cars could only boast a screen as impressive as the one on your Casio watch.

    The classic DIN radio would tell you what frequency it's tuned to via the same sort of seven segment display you'd find on a microwave. If you were really flashy, you might have a fancy unit with dancing segments of light flashing to the beat of the bass.

    And for a long time that was as exciting as car windows. Luckily, this was also a time when traction control was a bit slow so dealing with his car usually kept him busy.

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  • Buick Riviera: the grandfather of the touchscreen

    See how car screens have grown throughout history (8)

    Here's your Top Gear fact for today: The first production car with a touchscreen was... American. But no Tesla, internet babies will be surprised to know. In fact, Buick got there first by putting this 9-inch "Graphic Control Center" on the Rivieria in 1986.

    The commercials, which mean "advertisement" in American slang, proclaimed that the green and black "GCC" cathode ray tube 91 controls massive functions that would otherwise require knobs, switches and knobs on the dashboard.

    However, there were flaws. For one, the system would emit a high-pitched "BEEP" every time it was touched. Second, listen to this: drivers have complained that it was quite distracting to take your eyes off the road to check fuel economy (not much) and what was playing on the radio (land). Imagine.

    So Buick sensibly removed GCCs from the order books and touchscreens returned to the drawing board before invading our cars again two decades later...

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  • They hate iDrive

    See how car screens have grown throughout history (13)

    Meanwhile, it was BMW that got wildly ambitious in an attempt to (re)invent infotainment. iDrive made it into the 7 Series, which was smart from BMW, in the 2002 model year. There was something else for BMW traditionalists to fret about besides the rabid ogre style.

    The 8.8-inch screen replaced all of the usual BMW entertainment gear with a single operable button. For two years there wasn't even a menu shortcut or a back button until BMW bowed to the game and downplayed the controls.

    Ironically, iDrive has matured over several generations into one of the best automotive systems in the world, with fast processors, clear menus and a best-of-both combination of classic and touchscreen operation. the new technological iX electric. Move over Darwin, we have a new theory of evolution.

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  • Tesla's first ridiculous screen

    See how car screens have grown throughout history (14)

    Until 2012, when Tesla detonated a nuclear bomb in the calm waters of Infotainmentville with this Humdinger, it looked like clicking wheels and humble screens were winning the war. At the heart of your electric 4-door sedan's interior is a massive 17-inch vertical screen that controls...everything.

    Well, except driving, stop and go. But the setup of how the car does those things is on screen.

    Likewise the menus for climate control, navigation, media, security systems and charging settings. Tesla took a big gamble by entrusting all of the Model S's functions to a mega-display... but it worked.

    The user interface was intuitive and the processor could keep up at the touch of a button. And while we have our concerns about losing all of our prized buttons, there's no question that this ad made the entire auto industry's efforts look lazy and backward.

  • Tesla is doing it again with the Model 3

    See how car screens have grown throughout history (15)

    So Tesla obviously had to outdo itself. For the cheaper Model 3, the screen has been slightly reducedjust15.4 inches and rotated 90 degrees. But it was more powerful than the previous S model and even took care of displaying the current speed. The driver instrument display was gone.

    We're still not fans of this decision, if we're being honest, but most people seem too excited about the built-in karaoke, arcade games, and Easter eggs to care. Four years after the Model 3 debuted, this is still the most stunning touchscreen interface of any car we've driven. Who can top it?

  • Porsche takes some pixels

    See how car screens have grown throughout history (16)

    You can trace the Tesla effect on the rest of the auto industry by watching how old-school designs changed course overnight after the arrival of Tesla.

    Take Porsche as a good example. For fifty years, Porsche has been making gray interiors with sensitive buttons. Throw them a few brands and they could reupholster you in a 1970s green bathroom or second-hand placenta red. But all sensitive buttons were still there.

    After the Tesla, we got the Taycan and a whole new Porsche interior style. Yes, Stuttgart was already playing around with touchscreens on the 911 and Cayman and went a bit crazy on the 918 Spyder, but suddenly buttons were forbidden. In addition to a front and center main touchscreen, you can opt for a second passenger display.

    The climate controls are gone, replaced by you guessed it. Even the classic five-width Porsche dial is fully digital, framed by touch-sensitive buttons to stiffen the suspension and turn on the lights. Brave new world, right?

    In short, Porsche loves screens but has been reluctant to merge them into one giant surface...until now.

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  • Or Mustang Mach-E da Ford Soma

    See how car screens have grown throughout history (17)

    Obviously, Ford's rival Tesla wouldn't show up to the party without a XXXXL screen. The Mustang Mach-E's main event extends 15.5 inches into the electric crossover's interior, like a lost airport departure monitor who chose to live in a car.

    However, Ford chose not to be as minimalist as the Muskmobile. First, there's a built-in volume rocker. And in front of the driver, Ford installed a small but useful instrument cluster to put the car's speed within their line of sight.

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  • Enter the hyperscreen: the Mercedes EQS

    See how car screens have grown throughout history (18)

    And that brings us to the current king of screens: the Mercedes-Benz EQS with optional hyperscreen. It's actually three separate displays (two 12.3-inch and one 17.7-inch), but they all live under the same 56-inch line of Gorilla Glass.

    Not only does this thing have more processing power than the NASA computers that took Apollo 11 to the lunar surface, this cabin looks like the capsule that could take humans to base camp on Mars.

    The question is, where does the car screen size battle go from here?

  • Byton more than they can chew?

    See how car screens have grown throughout history (19)

    Well, if Chinese EV startup Byton is to be believed, the answer is folksTOMORROW'S SCREENS.

    Welcome to the Byton M-Byte cabin. You might not even have looked at it from the outside. It's just a classy looking family SUV. It appears to be a cross between a Volkswagen ID4 and a Range Rover Velar. Overhead door handles hardly scream "future." It's done.

    We then climb in and find a 48-inch full-width dash display. And a screen on the center console. And then, just in case, what looks like an iPad Mini strapped to the damn steering wheel. We were surprised to learn that the M-Byte doesn't have cameras for the rear-view mirrors, so it also had an excuse to cover the A-pillars with screens.

    Apparently more than 50,000 M-Bytes have been reserved in China, where the car will be launched this year. Don't sit too close to the steering wheel, your eyes will look square. Did your mother ever tell you that?

    Is this the future or have we crossed the screen sweet spot? Share your thoughts below, friends.

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How long have cars had screens? ›

Touch screens in cars are not new. In fact, the first production car fitted with a touch screen was the 1986 Buick Riviera.

What was the first car to have screens? ›

1976 - The First Digital Screen

The first digital screen in a car was introduced by Aston Martin, which showed the speed, fuel, temperature, RPM, and time. The information was displayed on five cathode ray tube (CRT) screens. However, because it was so expensive to produce, this technology didn't become popular.

What is the screen in a car called? ›

What is an infotainment system? An infotainment system typically takes the form of a touchscreen or display that's mounted in (or on) the dashboard in the middle of the car. These have increased in size over the past few years, with some as large (or even larger) than the tablet you have at home.

How can you find the history of a car? ›

Check the vehicle history, visit the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System website at

What year was the original screen? ›

When did the original screen come out? One of the earliest electronic displays is the cathode ray tube (CRT), which was first demonstrated in 1897 and made commercial in 1922. The CRT consists of an electron gun that forms images by firing electrons onto a phosphor-coated screen.

How do car screens work? ›

Over the years, many in-car touch screens have been resistive. This type consists of two thin layers with a gap in between. When the outer, malleable panel is pressed, the point of contact yields and comes in contact with the inner panel below. That connection forms a completed circuit and registers as an input.

What cars have screens inside? ›

10 Cars With The Largest Touchscreens
  • Rivian. Shot of the Rivian R1S' 16-inch touchscreen.
  • Porsche. Interior view of a Porsche Taycan and it's dashboard touchscreen.
  • GMC. Interior shot of a GMC Sierra EV and its touchscreen.
  • Tesla. Interior view of a Tesla Model X with its dashboard touchscreen.
  • Chevrolet. ...
  • BMW. ...
  • Lucid. ...
  • Cadillac.
Nov 14, 2022

Why did old cars have one mirror? ›

Drivers had to be aware only of traffic on their side and directly behind them (rear view). Due to this, most passenger vehicles with an internal rear-view mirror until the late 1960s had the passenger-side mirror only as an optional addition, as it was considered a luxury.

Did old cars have mirrors? ›

Car companies didn't originally offer mirrors on production cars. Why would you need them on single-track and two-lane roads? Racing driver Ray Harroun is credited with the first rear-view mirror, which he attached to the cowl of his Marmon Wasp before the first running of the Indy 500 in 1911.

Why do cars have screens? ›

They're called windscreens and they're there to screen us from the wind! We seal our cars to insulate them against the weather conditions and allow us to control the temperature for comfort.

What are car touch screens made of? ›

A film-on-glass (FG) resistive touchscreen is comprised of several layers, starting with a flexible, scratch-resistant, plastic outer layer with a conductive coating, such as indium tin oxide (ITO), on the underside. Below this outer layer is an air gap and then a glass layer, also coated with ITO.

What is the screen behind the steering wheel called? ›

A dashboard (also called dash, instrument panel (IP), or fascia) is a control panel set within the central console of a vehicle or small aircraft. Usually located directly ahead of the driver (or pilot), it displays instrumentation and controls for the vehicle's operation.

How can I find my car history for free? ›

Carfax says every car listed for sale on its website comes with a free Carfax report. Websites like and also might include free Carfax reports with their listings. If a used-car listing lacks a link to a free Carfax report, Carfax suggests requesting one from the seller.

Can I check the history of a used car? ›

Check a used car

A basic check and history report from Car Guide can get you information such as whether the vehicle has any outstanding finance against it. If it does, it means that the person selling the car to you does not own the vehicle, therefore you cannot legally buy it from them.

What is the best vehicle history report website? ›

The best-known vehicle history reports are sold by Carfax and AutoCheck, but you can get some limited background information for free from several sources. These reports are tied to a car's vehicle identification number or VIN, and the data is collected over the life of the car.

What were old screens made of? ›

Painted iron wire was soon improved upon with galvanized iron. Towards the end of the 1800's, bronze, copper, brass then steel became popular materials for manufacturing screens. By the early 1900's, metal screens were easily available throughout North America.

When did screens become popular? ›

1880s – “Awareness Increasing” Moving into the 1880s, window screens started to become more popular, as knowledge of diseases carried by mosquitoes and flies reaches the public.

What was the first color screen? ›

Cathode ray tube

The first commercial colour CRT was produced in 1954. CRTs were the single most popular display technology used in television sets and computer monitors for over half a century; it was not until the 2000s that LCDs began to gradually replace them.

Why do electric cars have such big screens? ›

The Ford Mustang Mach-E has a 15.5-inch center touchscreen, and the all-electric Mercedes-Benz EQS offers an entire dashboard that is one big Hyperscreen. Bigger screens are more legible, provide larger touch targets to interact with, and make it easier to glance at a map.

Can you touch your car screen while driving? ›

Is touching your phone while driving illegal? Current law forbids holding a mobile phone while driving. Although this could mean you can tap your screen when your phone is fixed on a mount, the police can charge you for driving without due care and attention or careless driving.

Who made the first touch screen? ›

The first finger driven touch screen was developed by Eric Johnson, of the Royal Radar Establishment located in Malvern, England, who described his work on capacitive touchscreens in a short article published in 1965 and then more fully—with photographs and diagrams—in an article published in 1967.

What car is in For Your Eyes Only? ›

This story is part of our weekly briefing. Sign up to receive the FREE briefing to your inbox. This is probably the second most famous Bond car after the legendary Aston Martin DB5. An Esprit featured as 007's hero car in two Bond films – The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and For Your Eyes Only (1981).

What cheap cars have screens in them? ›

10 Cheap Cars With The Best Infotainment Systems
  • 10 2017 Kia Forte.
  • 9 2016 Ford Fiesta.
  • 8 2016 Chevrolet Cruze.
  • 7 2017 Hyundai Elantra.
  • 6 2015 Subaru Impreza.
  • 5 2016 Scion iA.
  • 4 2018 Chevrolet Malibu.
  • 3 2018 Nissan Maxima.
Mar 8, 2022

What is the history of car mirrors? ›

The first patent for the car mirror was given to Elmer Berger in 1921—so he is commonly considered the inventor of the device. (By the way, Berger marketed the mirror as a “cop spotter.”) During that era, most of America's so-called highways were just two lanes. The need for side-view mirrors was minimal.

Why do all 90s cars look the same? ›

"They all looked the same because they were all being shaped in the wind tunnel, and were designed for fuel economy," says Larry Edsall, the author of several books on car design history.

What is each mirror on a car called? ›

Rear-view mirror, a mirror in vehicles that allows the driver to see rearwards. Wing mirror, or side mirror, a mirror on the exterior of vehicles.

Did old cars have clocks? ›

According to exhibit curator Les Lifton, Waltham produced nearly half of all U.S. car clocks from 1910 to 1940. Rarely was a car clock designed for a particular make or model; instead, manufacturers, dealers and drivers chose off-the-shelf clocks and installed them in quantity or one at a time.

What were old mirrors called? ›

Initially, antique mirrors were known as “looking glasses” and were made in Murano and silvered in Venice. This was in the 16th century. It was not until the 17th century when they began making them in England, first by Sir Robert Mansell and then by the Duke of Buckingham.

What did ancient mirrors look like? ›

METAL MIRRORS — Mirrors were used by the ancient Egyptians as early as c. 2900BC. These were made of polished bronze shaped into flat round discs—in representation of the sun-god Re—with handles of wood, metal or ivory. Likewise, in China, an unearthed cast bronze mirror has been dated as early as 2000BCE.

Why don t Mazda's have touch screens? ›

While most of the people would agree that touchscreens are good and at the same time compiling, there's room for better and safer user interfaces. With the risk that is associated with this, Mazda decided to refrain from touchscreens.

Why do broken down cars have shirts in the window? ›

The answer

The towel is meant to signal a need for help. According to page 70 of the North Carolina Driver's Handbook (what, you haven't read this since driver's ed?), “If you need help, tie a white cloth to the left door handle or the radio aerial and raise the hood of the vehicle.”

What technology is used in touch screen? ›

Resistive touch

The traditional touch screen technology is analog resistive. Electrical resistance refers to how easily electricity can pass through a material. These panels work by detecting how much the resistance to current changes when a point is touched.

What are the 2 types of touch screen? ›

Projected Capacitive Technology

There are two types of capacitive touchscreens; surface capacitive and projected capacitive. A surface capacitive touchscreen uses a transparent layer of conductive film overlaid onto a glass sublayer. A protective layer is then applied to the conductive film.

What are the 2 buttons behind a steering wheel? ›

The two levers on the steering column contain controls for driving features you use most often. The left lever controls the turn signals, headlights, and high beams. The right lever controls the windshield washers and wipers.

What do you call a car with the steering wheel on the right side? ›

adjective [usu ADJ n] A right-hand drive vehicle has its steering wheel on the right side. It is designed to be driven in countries such as Britain, Japan, and Australia, where people drive on the left side of the road.

What are the red things behind the steering wheel? ›

Many cars have switches right behind the steering wheel to change the gear stage, and these switches are called “paddle shifters.” Paddle shifters allow you to shift gear while holding the steering wheel without having to move your hand to the gear lever, making the change safer and quicker.

What is the best free car history report? › has the most free information available, providing useful data including recalls, safety ratings, original specifications, warranty, and more.

Can I check VIN history for free? ›

NICB's VINCheck is a free lookup service provided to the public to assist in determining if a vehicle may have a record of an insurance theft claim, and has not been recovered, or has ever been reported as a salvage vehicle by participating NICB member insurance companies.

Which is better Carfax or AutoCheck? ›

Carfax reports are more comprehensive than AutoCheck — unlike AutoCheck, they include information on any maintenance or service that was reported. But all of this information comes at a cost — Carfax reports are pricier than AutoCheck reports. For example, the cost for six Carfax reports is $99.99.

What is a vehicle AutoCheck score? ›

What is the AutoCheck Score? Only AutoCheck vehicle history reports include the AutoCheck Score, a tool that enables you to understand a vehicle's past quickly and easily, compare it to other vehicles, and lower the risk of buying a vehicle with undetected problems.

Who owns number plate? ›

Can you find out who owns it? Not really. The only people who have access to that sort of information are the police and the DVLA and neither of them will divulge it as it is covered by the Data Protection Act. The only hope you have of finding the owner is if you spot the car on the road.

Does Carfax work on old cars? ›

Carfax Used Car Listings come with a free Carfax Report. (Carfax Used Car Listings and Vehicle History Reports are only available for cars from 1981 or later.)

What is the most detailed car history report? ›

The Carfax report is the benchmark for all other vehicle history reports. If a vehicle has had multiple owners, it is clearly labeled and organized in different sections. Carfax also has more detailed maintenance records. This information can serve as a guide to what issues the vehicle might have had.

What is a full car history report? ›

In basic terms, a history check provides all the historical information on a specific vehicle. However, it doesn't include servicing history or specific component details – such as tyre pressures and cambelt change intervals.

Is Carfax report enough? ›

CARFAX is a good starting place but shouldn't be your only source of info. While CARFAX is a great place to start researching a vehicle's history, CARFAX vehicle history reports won't show you a history that was never reported. So a clean CARFAX report shouldn't be considered a good vehicle.

What year did they start putting electronics in cars? ›

FIAT offered the first standard-fit electronic ignition in the '68 Dino, but that wasn't sold in the US; the 1971 Jaguar XJ, which also had it, was. Chrysler made electronic ignition standard in 1973; GM, Ford and AMC followed in 1975.

Did cars have phones in the 70s? ›

In the 1970s, German and British radio manufacturers created more reliable car phones that lived like a built-in computer in a car. While they worked, they could only be operated while the car was on because they relied on the car's power and battery to maintain the phone's cellular signal.

Did 1980 have car phones? ›

In the 1980s, the car phone was more popular than the mobile phone. However, as mobile phones became lighter and more affordable during the mobile phone boom in the 1990s, car phones became less common.

When did touch screen come out? ›

Touchscreen technology started back in 1965 but failed to become mainstream popular until 2007 when Apple released the first iPhone.

How has car technology changed over the years? ›

Modern cars have more safety and technological features than previous sets of cars. Indeed, today, a modest car will have an MP3 player, hard drive, GPS, and an advanced safety system. Other features include keyless entry systems, sunroofs, electric doors, and windows as well as CD players.

What year did they start putting chips in cars? ›

The first chips in cars were introduced in the late 1960s and early 1970s to manage simple functions such as fuel injection and transmission shifting. Today electronics is used to handle everything from locking doors and calculating fuel efficiency to emergency braking, traction control and automatic parking.

Did 1920s have electric cars? ›

Electric vehicles enjoyed success into the 1920s with production peaking in 1912. several major developments as follows: By the 1920s, America had a better system of roads connecting cities, and bringing with it the need for longer-range vehicles.

How did 1960s car phones work? ›

The service was only available in major cities and highway corridors and was aimed at companies rather than individuals. The equipment filled much of a car's trunk, and subscribers made calls by picking up the handset and speaking to a switchboard operator.

How much was a car phone in 1985? ›

Cellular car phones, which were first sold in Connecticut in 1985, cost from $600 to $1,700, depending on the model and features desired.

How much did a car phone cost in the 80s? ›

As the Radio Shack ad above demonstrates, a car phone cost a mere $1,399 in 1987 dollars ($3,176 and change in 2020, adjusted for inflation), while a truly portable phone was offered by Radio Shack for $2,495 in 1987 dollars, which works out to an eye-watering $5,665 today.

How much did a car phone cost in 1990? ›

INDIANAPOLIS — When mobile phones first came to Indianapolis, it was a technology seemingly reserved for the wealthy. Phones were priced anywhere from $1,000 to $1,900.

What is the oldest car phone? ›

The car phone was first introduced in America by Motorola in 1946 with limited service in Chicago provided by the Bell System which used radio technology to connect a phone installed in the vehicle to landlines across the country.

When was the last car phone made? ›

As major manufacturers geared up to provide cellular equipment, no new radio-operated mobile phones were offered after 1982, although some car phones were still available on the market as recently as 2008, including the Nokia 810 and the Motorola VC6096.

What is the history of touch screen? ›

The first finger driven touch screen was developed by Eric Johnson, of the Royal Radar Establishment located in Malvern, England, who described his work on capacitive touchscreens in a short article published in 1965 and then more fully—with photographs and diagrams—in an article published in 1967.

Who invented screen? ›

In 1965 E.A. Johnson invented, what is generally considered the first finger driven touchscreen. Published in Electronic Letters, Johnson's article “Touch display – a novel input/output device for computers” outlined a type of touchscreen that many personal devices today use; capacitive touch.


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